Ritual Casting

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
Post Reply
Slimcreeper
Posts: 783
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Ritual Casting

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:04 pm

An alternative to the alternate rule in the Companion, which never felt very elegant to me. What do you think?

Ritual Chain Casting

A Spellcaster can use a 10 minute ritual to cast any spell he or she knows with a duration of greater than instant. The Spellcaster must dedicate a Spell Matrix to the spell or attune a grimoire to the spell, if using grimoire casting.The spell remains in effect as long as the target remains within the range of the spell. The spell cannot benefit from any extra successes and any extra threads must be woven in advanced and stored in an Enhanced Matrix. If using an attuned grimoire, it remains attuned as long as the spell is in effect. If using a Spell Matrix, any attempts to Reattune on the Fly automatically fail as long as the spell is maintained. The spell can be dropped at anytime, but the effects of the spell are dropped as well.

Belenus
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:27 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Belenus » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:10 am

I can find several changes you made to the original alternate rule (except the fluff ofc):
  1. You need 10 minutes to prepare the chain casting.
    Just for fluff or do you have a reason to do so? To compensate for the below advantages? I don't see 10 minutes as any problem, it just adds to the morning schedule with the karma ritual and breakfast.
  2. You can use your grimoire to chain cast (which everybody would do, 1 more Matrix to use)
    Definitley an advantage to before.
  3. You can chain cast each spell with a duration longer than instant. The original can only chain cast spells with a duration in minutes.
    An extremely powerful advantage and I would check each spell first before using this rule. For example the Phantom Warrior could be chain casted now :shock:
  4. You can use one extra thread in combination with an advanced spell matrix
    Also an advantage. I get the feeling the previous system was just to weak for you? I see balancing problems to non-casters here. Or ofc if used for buffs for the whole group, it just enhances the overall powerlevel.
  5. "The spell can be dropped at anytime, but the effects of the spell are dropped as well."
    This even goes against the way magic works in Earthdawn. Normally you can't just drop your spell. If active, even you yourself have to use Dispel Magic on you own spells to neutralize them.
  6. You didn't wirte how it works with spells who require threads. Can I chain cast a spell with 5 threads if I just prepare them before the ritual?

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 554
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:39 pm

Chain Casting, by the original meaning, meant that the magician was constantly working to recast all of his spells. If a magician wanted to keep copies of two spells that each had a duration of 5 minutes active on each of 4 party members, than the magician would need to keep both spells constantly in a matrix, and every 5 minutes would cast each spell 4 times. In addition to the optional rules included in the companion, I have seen (and written) several sets of house-rules to determine how many spells a caster can keep active and for how many hours of the day they can do so.

As GM I always emphasized how mentally taxing it was to be constantly tracking spell duration and expire time, and how exhausting it was to cast half a hundred spells every hour, hour after hour, day after day, and how distracted they always were, how difficult it was to give their full, long term, attention to anything other than their chain casting. How they frequently stumble while trying to cast spells while the party is hiking. Heck, I assigned Awareness penalties to magicians depending upon how heavily they were chain casting. They hated that.


If I read slimcreepers proposal correctly, he is actually doing away with the chain casting, and replacing it with a 10 minute ritual in the morning. And then the magician does not need to bother to keep recasting the spells all day. The magician can even sleep with his spells active, so long as his targets remain within spell range of him. There is no need to keep chain cast spells in standard matrices, since if you can use grimoire casting, and even have the bonus of it keeping your grimoure attuned to you forever. This all seems overpowered. I personally would argue against allowing grimoire casting and require each spell being cast to occupy a matrix. I would also certainly not allow the magician to spend zero attention to his spells, at a minimum they ought to go away while he sleeps, and it is reasonable that they would also go away when he rested, ate, meditated, and did karma rituals. Basically anything that would have keep him from recasting the spells every few minutes. I can sympathize with slimcreepers desire to say that chain casting does not need to be taxing, exhausting, and distracting, but requiring zero attention seems like way too much.

I agree with Belenus that opening chain casting up to spells with duration measured in rounds is unreasonable. If going by RaW trying to do that would mean that one was spending more of their time recasting spells than not.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 783
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone. The thing that bothers me is the idea of the mage recasting the spell every few minutes. In education we talk about the cognitive load of a task. It’s why we tell the kids to be quiet when we’re merging into heavy traffic. To believe a mage can just cast spells repeatedly and flawlessly is to believe that spell casting is a trivial task, and that doesn’t work for me.

I’m going to take all of what you’ve said and mull it over.

Lursi
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:09 pm
Location: Münster

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Lursi » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:22 am

I believe to remember a rule in ED1 that a spell could be cast permanently with some blood damage for a year and a day.

I also vaguely remember that this was too cheap with circle points of damage.

I would propose a permanent buff costs the thread weaving difficulty in damage points with every extra thread adding the same damage on top.

The problem: you cant make such a rule without destabilizing the entire system. The spells need to be tuned to such possibilities. Every decision to cast a spell permanently must be painful and difficult.

I take away the awareness modifiers from this thread, I like the idea!

I would say, use the enchantment route instead of chain casting. This should allow the creation of semi-permanent artifacts with a number of charges or a certain duration of a buff.

At least, this is what I often use to allow an ally to help the group without the risk of a permanent change to the power balance. It gives you an idea how a certain type of artifact will affect your heroes.

Legendary deeds sometimes turn these items then into thread items.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 783
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Slimcreeper » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:21 am

I’m taking it as an article of faith that the official alternate rule is well-balanced. They usually do a good job with that sort of thing. The other side is that I don’t particularly like tracking durations. I’d rather make everything 1 round, 1 conflict, 1 scene, 1 day, 1 month, 1 year 1 day. Haven’t come up with an elegant way to do that, though.

Belenus
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:27 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Belenus » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:40 pm

To be honest I never had the problem with my players abusing chain casting.
Every caster in my group only choses one spell he wants to chain cast, not several.
And they also only do so, when the time is correct to do so.
For example as a wizard, I don't need to always have my Astral Targeting active. But when I'm in an unexplored kaer, then ofc I will (ab)use this spell.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 783
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:30 am

Yeah, like I say, I don't think it is unbalanced and I don't think anyone else needs to make a change. It just kind of messes with my head canon of what spellcasting is like.

I have some ideas, but I'm a bit too tired to write them out just yet. Again, I appreciate everyone's feedback.

Panda
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:30 am

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Panda » Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:49 am

Greetings,

During the design stages of 4E, I talked to many different groups to see how they played. Spells were written in such a way to reflect how they were often used, which is constantly being recast when the duration wore off. Not every group did this, but there was certainly nothing that forbade it and with a duration in the minutes, it's not outside the realm of possibility to recast a potentially life-saving spell to keep it active. The assumption is you are a professional para-military group in an extremely dangerous line of work. The idea of keeping track of durations is curious because the spell is simply recast when it runs out—there's no need to keep track of anything. If you want to add that and associated penalties, okay, but there's nothing in the setting or system to support it.

Making it "formal" was introduced on my blog and this was a way to reduce the time spent at the table dealing with it. There were some important limitations to this: one was a duration in minutes and the other was occupying a spell matrix. Removing those makes things get out of hand quickly. Every buff is active all the time.

The idea was to incorporate something that didn't change how the system and setting worked, but worked within what already existed. Formalizing something groups were already doing and building the system to be balanced to it. All this being said, it was the first attempt at introducing it, with the optional rule in the Companion being the second go at refining it after listening and learning. Which ultimately led me to write a new optional rule to fully incorporate it into the system with explicitly more control on how it works, what spells are possible, and the associated costs. It's entirely possible this has already been seen, but it's also possible it hasn't:

https://pandagaminggrove.blogspot.com/2 ... wable.html

Hopefully this is helpful.

Best regards,

Morgan

Slimcreeper
Posts: 783
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Ritual Casting

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:19 pm

I have complete confidence that the rule is well-balanced and I think every table should use it. It just messes with my head canon.

Actually, maybe here is what I should do: call it ritual casting and add a 10 minute ritual to kick it off, but keep all other restrictions and rules from chain casting. Bam - balances and tested rule that fits my personal vision.

Post Reply